FR. TERRY RYAN, CSP
LUKE 16: 19-31
SEPTMBER 25, 2016
Sometimes people say that they have given up on God or do not believe in a God because there is so much suffering in the world and God does not prevent it. The story of Lazarus and the rich man is used to make their case against God. In fact, God did try to help Lazarus. God did not ignore Lazarus. God’s plan was for the rich man to take care of Lazarus. The rich man was a believer. Abraham was “Father” to the man. He also knew Lazarus. The rich man was supposed to be God’s skin in the world and take care of Lazarus. He did not do his job. All of us fail at one time or another to be God’s skin the world. We all have more of something while someone else we know has far less, and we ignore them
In school situations, one person has friends, is in a popular group, while someone who they know by name, does not seem to have friends or to connect. The popular person ignores the lonely person who they see every day! Some people use information as power. They don’t share it with others who are ill informed. Some people have skills but won’t share their expertise.
This gospel is not a critique on wealth or poverty. Neither the rich man nor Lazarus is judged for their situation. The rich man had it good in his lifetime and Lazarus had it bad. Sometimes we tend to blame the poor for being poor. Somehow, it is their own fault, so we don’t have to do anything to help them. Or we judge people with lots of money, to be an evil and wrong situation. The wrong of the rich man is that he did nothing for Lazarus who was right in front of him every day. Even in the Netherworld, the rich man never repented or apologized or admitted that he messed up. He wanted Lazarus to take care of his thirst in the flames. He who ignored Lazarus did not want to be ignored himself.
Some of us think that if we actually saw Jesus risen from the dead we would become believers, or stronger believers and practice our faith better. Abraham has it right. Sometimes we are so self-imploded that even a person raised from the dead won’t change us.